Newly-crowned MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has revealed that suffered hair loss during a stressful start to the 2017 season, and that a change in approach was needed to turn his campaign around.
Marquez stood on the podium only twice during the first six races of the season and crashed as many times, putting the Spaniard at an early disadvantage in the standings.
After May's Mugello race, he was 37 points behind leader Maverick Vinales, and while Marquez secured second next time around in Barcelona, he endured a fraught weekend there, crashing five times prior to the race.
The Honda rider admitted the first part of the season was so stressful that his hairdresser had spotted he had started to lose hair.
"It has been a really tough season, many ups and downs, many difficult moments, many good moments," said Marquez. "Especially in the first part of the season it was very hard.
"After Montmelo [Barcelona] I was with my hairdresser, and she says, 'what is going on, what happened? You are losing the hair', and it was true.
"I said 'no, I'm 24, it is impossible!' My grandfather, my father have hair.
"Then I went directly to [MotoGP medical director] Dr. Charte to the hospital and he said, 'you need to change the approach to racing, because you have too much stress inside your body'.
"I realised, I'm always smiling, always happy - but inside of me, we are humans, and the tension is there, we are nervous."
"Perfect" second half of the season
Marquez said that changes to the bike and his approach allowed him to recover from the slow start, particularly after a pivotal test during the summer-break at Brno.
After Barcelona, in the last 11 races, Marquez won five times, stood on the podium on nine occasions and failed to finish only at Silverstone due to an engine failure.
"I changed my approach but especially changed the feeling with my bike," Marquez added. "We did a big change on the bike and then I got the correct feeling again and I started to enjoy it again on the bike.
"After Le Mans, we were in the car, going to the airport with Emilio, Jose [team members] and I told them, 'I am not enjoying on the bike I am just riding because I need to ride but I'm not enjoying'.
"Then we changed the mentality. First of all, we needed to find a way to enjoy it on the bike then we would find the result.
"We were going that way, we just worked hard in the tests, we did more than 100 laps every test day and we found the way to enjoy it."
"This second half of the season for me has been perfect. We controlled all the sessions all the time, all the moments and finished always in the podium [except] Malaysia, but we were there."